Talking Google PowerMeter on AM 950 and The Uptake

I had a little chat about my latest obsession, the Google PowerMeter service, on Quick On The UpTake with Mike McIntee this afternoon. Good times were had. The theme of the hour was energy conservation starting with my segment at 15 minutes into the segment embedded above (that a live studio shot of Mike doing the show. I called in.)

If you’re into the local healthcare scene, you may find the entire video valuable.

I warmed things up for Molly Priesmeyer from LiveGreenTwinCities who shares her home energy audit experiences after my segment while Mike drops knowledge based on his own energy audit experience. That is some great information, especially for us inner city folks who’s homes may have developed a few leads over the years. Or, as Reuben recently discovered, are being insulated by squirrel carcasses.

Privacy Concerns

One thing that came out during this segment that’s worth explaining: The powermeter I installed from The Energy Detective can be used without sharing data with Google. In fact, the service’s primary value, today, has nothing to do with Google. T.E.D.’s basic energy monitoring software shows you your energy consumption from your circuit breaker box to your web browser directly and shares that data with no one. It’s up to you to decide whether you’d also like to share you home’s energy data with Google. The data provided on T.E.D.’s interface is more valuable than Google’s representation of the same data since it’s real-time, so you can immediately see the impact of turning a light or appliance on/off. Over time, Google may be able to provide equally interesting data in the form of local benchmarks, but they’re no there today.

If you have any hesitation about using this service based on privacy concerns, don’t opt-in to the Google PowerMeter service after installing the software. You’ll get all the benefits with none of the privacy concerns related to pushing your home’s energy consumption stats to Google.

As of now, they’re still back-ordered (the model I have is the TED 5000), but it looks like Amazon may carry it once they’ve caught up with demand.

Quick Comments on FOX 9 Tonight

Based on the underwhelming feedback that came in tonight, I get the impression that none of you watched FOX 9 tonight. Or, if you did, you blinked while I was on. Be patient with this clip if you can’t get enough of me.

FOX 9’s Maury Glover was a really nice guy. We talked about quite a few things regarding the Strib’s changes, but I probably went a little long on my soundbites to create something usable for TV.

Chris Ison’s point about the difference in cost between the Sat. & Sun. editions is worth noting. If someone buys the Sunday edition for the ads (something I do when I’m in a need for home-improvement inspiration kind of mood) they’ll now be able to get those ads from newsstands and newspaper boxes on Saturdays for $0.50 rather than waiting an additional day to pay more for the same content.

Like it or not, there is certainly a market for buying the paper specifically for the ads. Growing up, I was definitely a kid who reached for the Best Buy ad before the sports section. Of course, I now go to Amazon rather than the Star Tribune or BestBuy.com in search of information on the latest gadget I “need” to buy.

My next media appearance will be at 5:15pm on Oct 14th on AM950 – The Voice of Minnesota – to talk about the Google PowerMeter.

Ed on Minnov8 Gang Podcast

I had a chance to join the crew from the Minnov8 Gang to record a podcast this morning. We talked about a wide range of issues, including stuff I’m involved in. If you’ve ever wondered what I do when I’m not taking pictures of toilet paper, this is probably your best chance to find out. Find a link to the audio near the end of the post.

If you’re not familiar with Minnov8, it’s a local media site that covers Minnesota related tech scene including start-ups. If you know of interesting projects happening in MN, be sure to pass along what and who you know to Minnov8 so they can cover the news.

They have a blog, do a weekly podcast (click here to subscribe through iTunes), show up at almost every local tech meet-up, maintain their own blogs, and are all over Twitter. Busy guys.

The Hand – Back in the Day

Google’s release of what the web looked like 10 years ago has been fun to play around with. I Googled myself, of course, and found an article I had forgotten about from 1996 regarding the windproof jockstrap company I used to own called The Hand:

Humbug – Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal:

Give him a hand

OK, all of you who still haven’t finished your holiday gift shopping, raise your hands.

Now go buy some. Hands, that is.

The Hand, made and marketed by a small St. Paul company of the same name, can best be described as a cold-weather athletic supporter. It’s aimed mainly at cross-country skiers and others who like to exercise in raw temperatures.

Ed Kohler, the 22-year-old owner of The Hand, said he first encountered the product a couple years ago, when he was on the cross-country ski team at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. (Kohler, a cross-country champion at St. Paul’s Central High School, has since transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.)

“Every year, we’d have 40 below for a high for at least two weeks,” Kohler said of life in Alaska. “I’d tried some other products like this, but this was the best.”

Good humor.

My Latest Media Mention

Shoefiti was covered by Charlottesville, Virginia’s Daily Progress newspaper:

‘Shoefiti’ phenomenon has no clear answer

Ed Kohler is the creator of shoefiti.com, a Web site that tracks shoefiti across the country and world. He says he created the term in 2005, after noticing shoes on utility lines near his Minneapolis, Minn., home.

Nobody’s ever been able to scientifically identify a reason for the dangling shoes, but they pop up in several different countries and in cities of all sizes, Kohler said.

The real reasons could depend on where the shoes are found, he said.

“On the lighter side of things, if it’s near a high school, it’s probably a case of hazing or something like that,” said Kohler, 33. “If it’s near a military base, it might be something where people finish their time and they’re celebrating.”

Jeff and Sarah may remember when I did this interview while stepping out from the Riverview Wine Bar for a few minutes on May 25th.

Got Some Ink in Advertising Age

Quick quote from your media whore about a new free WiFi network out of Spain that’s invading the United States:

Starbucks’ Pushy New Neighbor

Some businesses already offer free Wi-Fi as a way to attract customers. Large chain restaurants such as Schlotzsky’s and Panera Bread Co. have offered free Wi-Fi for years. In fact, Panera operates one of the largest free Wi-Fi networks in the country.

“There are some costs involved in setting up and maintaining the network, but none of that changes with the Fon deal,” said Ed Kohler, a web-business developer and blogger at TechnologyEvangelist.com. “Businesses will see the most benefit from providing free Wi-Fi in exchange for a customer relationship. … I don’t think this will have a significant effect on the uptake of Wi-Fi. Businesses who saw Wi-Fi as a draw have likely already adopted it by now.”


If case you’re not a regular reader of Advertising Age. It’s a magazine about . . . wait for it . . . advertising. They put articles between the ads to mix things up a bit.